Phoenix light rail and pension propositions must be stopped at all costs
Opinion: Propositions 105 and 106 are direct attacks on light rail and Phoenix’s quality of life.
Greg Stanton, Thelda Williams, Phil Gordon, Skip Rimsza, Paul Johnson and Terry Goddard, opinion contributors
Out-of-state “dark money” forces have launched a coordinated effort to slam the brakes on our growth, destroy our accomplishments, and send Phoenix in the wrong direction.
Propositions 105 and 106 are direct attacks on light rail and our quality of life. They are bad for Phoenix, and they must be stopped at all costs.
Why? Because Phoenix is an amazing place to call home. It is more than just the fifth-largest city in the United States – it is a land of opportunity with a rich history and deep cultural roots.
Phoenix has a 21st century economy with an excellent quality of life and a thriving transit system that connects residents, students, seniors, businesses and many others to the places they need to go.
We were proud to have played a part in making this city what it is today. Collectively, we have had the honor of serving as mayor of Phoenix for more than 30 combined years. A lot changed during those years – the population grew by nearly 66% over that time from less than a million people to nearly 1.7 million.
We also saw the creation of the urban villages, a massive expansion of our library system, the advent of our freeway and our bus system, the planning and construction of the light rail, and an amazing transformation of our downtown.
Prop. 105 stops all future light rail
During our tenure as Phoenix mayors, we saw light rail transform from a vision for the future to a reality. Since 1986, Phoenix and the Maricopa County region has voted and approved comprehensive transportation plans for freeways, streets, local bus, commuter bus, light rail and Dial-A-Ride at least three times.
These comprehensive plans have helped the Valley grow and thrive.
Light rail has played an important role in our prosperity, generating $11 billion in public and private investment in the corridor and generating more than 35,000 jobs within a half mile of light rail.
Prop. 105 stops all future light rail expansion in Phoenix. This is not just about the South Central line. It is a full attack on any and all future rail projects.
If this proposition passes, billions in federal money could be taken from Phoenix and given to other cities like Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis or Salt Lake City, which have active rail projects. We must vote no on Prop. 105 to keep these funds invested in Phoenix.
Prop. 106 could force huge budget cuts
The attack on light rail is not the only assault on Phoenix’s quality of life. Prop. 106 is a deeply flawed proposal that would slash access to critical city services like parks, libraries and basic road repair, just as Phoenix emerges from the worst recession in generations.
It goes too far and puts too much at risk.
By tying the hands of city leaders, Prop. 106 could force significant cuts and roll back many of the significant gains we were able to make in improving our quality of life.
Phoenix has been the gold standard fiscally responsible for decades – enjoying excellent bond ratings and quality financial management. The city is on track to pay its pension obligation. There is no need to force the issue and put so many other items that are important to our residents in jeopardy.
Proposition 106 is just too risky.
All of us who have served Phoenix for more than three decades are imploring you to vote No on 105 and 106. Join us in protecting our future by believing in our past and voting no.
U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton served as mayor from 2012-2018. Thelda Williams served as mayor twice – most recently from May 2018 to March 2019; Phil Gordon served as a Phoenix city councilman and was mayor from 2004-2012; Skip Rimsza served as a councilman and was mayor from 1994-2004; Paul Johnson served as a councilman and was mayor from 1990-1994; and Terry Goddard served as mayor from 1984-1990. Share your thoughts at email@example.com. Visit https://investinphx.org/